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IMG Academy alumnus, Zerek Valentin, heads to Norway

US Presswire
Zarek Valentin playing for the U.S. Olympic Team

Zerek Valentin graduated from IMG Academy in 2008 and went on to have a successful two year career at the University of Akron. In 2011, he was drafted by Chivas USA as the fourth overall pick in the SuperDraft. After 25 appearances in his first year, Valentin was traded to Montreal. He had minimal impact for Montreal in the 2012 season, so when Bodo/Glimt inquired about a season long loan in 2013, it looked to be a win-win situation.

Many speculated that the young defender forced a move because of a lack of playing time, but Valentin squashed those rumors immediately, calling such claims “absurd."

In fact, Bodo/Glimt’s head coach, Jan Halvor Halvorsen, had been following Valentin since his days at Akron and has kept an eye on him since. This seemed to be the perfect time to bring in Valentin and both parties agreed.

Now all attention is on his new club and achieving promotion into the top league in Norway, the Tippeligaen. It just so happens this is Valentin’s last year in his contract with MLS, and if things go well, the American wouldn’t rule out a permanent move. After a 4-1 start to the season, Bodo/Glimt are early favorites to earn promotion.

"I think it's everyone's ambition to play in Europe and play at the highest level possible," Valentin told "If this team gets promoted and starts doing well, Bodo has the potential to play and get into some of biggest competitions and that is everyone's dream. But I'm taking it step by step and hopefully once we get promoted, we will see."